As I post my 2014 Fantasy Wide Receiver rankings, I think back to the late ‘80s and most of the ‘90s, when 49ers legend Jerry Rice was one of the greatest Fantasy players ever.
I don’t just mean he was a great Fantasy pick at wide receiver, I mean he was one of the best Fantasy Football players of all time – at any position. During the ‘90s, he was a first-round pick like eight seasons in a row. And this is way back when running backs completely ruled Fantasy Football.
Rice was always good to be the best Fantasy wide receiver that season, and you’d just have to roll the dice on getting good running backs with your next two picks.Now, we’re in an era where several wide receivers are putting up Jerry Rice-type numbers, which basically means his value would be diluted a bit if he was playing today.
In 1993, there were just eight 1,000-yard WRs. But here we are 20 years later, and 23 different wide receivers posted 1,000-yard seasons. That’s nearly three times as many as the days of Joe Montana and Dan Marino.
And 20 years ago, 14 WRs tallied 125 Fantasy points, compared to 26 wide receivers that scored that many in 2013. Last year, we even saw six wide receivers score 200 or more Fantasy points for the first time since 2007.
The problem we’re having with 2014 is – the best wide receiver in Fantasy Football is facing a one-year suspension. If Josh Gordon plays even half a season, his points-per-game make him a worth Fantasy pick.
Gordon’s 2012 NFL Draft counterpart, Justin Blackmon, is equally as troubled – just not as Fantasy worthy when he’s playing. Blackmon is dealing with an infinite ban. What was going on at the 2012 rookie parties!?!
The depth at the wide receiver position is what has really exploded in the past decade, which not only makes later Fantasy picks more valuable, but it also creates great talent available on the waiver wire.
There are plenty of players coming back from injuries, including Percy Harvin (hip), Julio Jones (foot), and Jeremy Maclin (knee). And don’t forget there are several wideouts that will be wearing new jerseys in 2014, including Eric Decker (N.Y. Jets), DeSean Jackson (Washington) and Emmanuel Sanders (Denver).
2014 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings
Our rankings use standard scoring, for non-PPR, in 12-team leagues, with 6 points for a rushing/receiving touchdown and minus-2 for turnovers. Note: I talk a little more about specific wide receiver rankings this season over at FantasySports.About.com.
2014 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DST | Top 60 via 3 Expert Mock Drafts
Stock up on plenty of WRs in the middle rounds of your Fantasy drafts, as there is great depth here. Hopefully, you’ll end up with several of the top guys in our 2014 Fantasy Wide Receiver rankings.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.